The case for Apple slowing down, rather than speeding up

The case for Apple slowing down, rather than speeding up

Instead of media and markets continuously hounding Apple about "what's next?!", there's a case to be made that Apple has already announced several services that could do with a little -- or a lot -- of their attention. It might not be as magical or revolutionary as a fresh name on a big slide, but making what's already here work better could also increase the value of Apple's platform as a whole. At least that's what Joe Cieplinski thinks:

If the pattern used to be “release, then iterate, iterate, iterate,” it seems like Apple is not giving itself enough time for the “iterate” part of that process. It’s being pressured to move on to the next thing. And that leaves us with a lot of half-baked products and a ton of unrealized potential.

Cieplinski calls out FaceTime, Passbook, iBooks Author, and, of course, iCloud. And you know what? He makes a compelling case. Read it over.

Source: Joe Cieplinski

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Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

The case for Apple slowing down, rather than speeding up

32 Comments

He makes good points i mean i message and facetime should have more options. I thought by now facetime would have file sharing or multi user support istead of just 1 on 1 .

This is spot on. Apple really needs to shore up current offerings despite pressure to keep adding new features. Maps is a prime example of something that was an epic fail of release and iterate.

Facetime DEFINITELY needs multi-person calling. Almost everyone I know has an iDevice with Facetime, and we all want this feature (it makes business conferencing much easier since I am always on the go with my job).

Passbook simply needs more apps to jump on in like they said they would (I'm looking at you, Delta). iCloud has not disappointed me, but I also don't use it for much. And iBooks Author I don't use (and wasn't aware of its existence).

It looks like Apple is indeed slowing down on the rapid announcements as they skipped their annual March event which they've been doing for the past 5 years. Does this mean we'll get something big in June???

Besides Facetime, iMessage and iCloud I think Game Center needs some serious help.

Apple also needs to think about supporting their products for a liitle more than 3 years instead of pissing people off after they spent alot of money on their products; ex. Ipad 1 only 3 year old and not supported. It's great to see new products come out but we also don't expect the product not to be supported either after just a few years. Apple will lose supporters when people relies that after a short time their product isn't supported anymore.

Your iPad doesn't need support. It needs to be tossed out and replaced with a new iPad. I think that's a pretty universal mentality in the tablet space no matter who makes them. Less computing power and potentially much higher cost of ownership - amazing! Welcome to the "post PC" era.

To be fair, pretty much every mobile device is like this. My iPhone 3G choked on iOS 4. My Samsung Galaxy S2 was pretty much abandoned for software updates after ICS 4.0 rolled out 8 months after it was announced. The only devices that seem to get long term updates are Google's Nexus devices, including the really old school Motorola Xoom.

You should be more grateful. Android devices only get support for about a year, not three. "Short time?" Ha. Three years is more than enough support. Youre living in a dream world.

He should be grateful??? Why, just because someone else does a worse job? Windows XP is 12 years old and its still officially supported, and I don't think I should be thankful to Microsoft, its their obligation. They should be grateful to me for using their products, as should Apple, and not the other way around.

While I agree with your sentiment, it's just not feasible for a company to hire an entire staff to keep updating and working on old OS's. When you buy a phone, you're buying it with that OS. If three years later that OS doesn't work, then you get to complain.

But if you try loading Photoshop 6 on a ten year old PC, you can't complain that the machine doesn't work with it, technology has moved on and you need to use Photoshop 1 if you don't want to upgrade your hardware.

I see your point, but I also think Apple has always been weak on backwards compatibility to force users to upgrade their hardware. Twenty years ago there was a huge difference between generation of processors, that is just not true today, or better, it does not have to be that way, unless by design. I think the notion that we should be grateful for any of that is ludicrous.

BTW, not to %$#& on your point, but 10 years ago we were using Hyperthreaded Pentium 4's and with two GB of RAM those would run Photoshop 6 just fine.

haha, like I said, I agree with you theoretically. I thought it was and still is ludicrous that Siri wasn't put on the iP4 when the app already worked on it before Apple bought it and ruined it.

As to your old computer/photoshop comment, I'm using a 4 year old Mac Book Pro and Photoshop 6 does NOT work just fine. It works, but chuggs along at a snails pace when I'm forced to load up a pic over 500Mb's. Saving the image alone takes almost 5 minutes.

I love my apple products and love how they all sync and work together. I'm actually ok with a little slower hardware update schedule (I don't feel outdated so fast!!) but I would like to see them put a little but of attention back into the software side of things.

iLife is one of the great selling features of a MAC but its seeming a little dated lately. Would love to see an update on this side of the business! Lots of potential with iCloud and would really have loved to see them continue with iWeb!!!

I agree with him. I think if apple would give us one killer feature each year and continue to build on those platforms like iCloud, passbook, and Face Time. I do think we would be having these issues. I think everyone wants to have something to show off. Just my thoughts!

Personally, I believe this to be a trend ever since facetime. I was extremely disappointed that Facetime didn't have multi-person calling. I could understand during iPhone 4 due to hardware limitations, but iPhone should have had it during iPhone 4S and higher.

Game center seems like it could do more as well as iCloud, but Maps was the biggest disappointment. Sure it is ramping up now, but you can't let a product that incomplete be released to the market. Very disappointing at the quality that fell after Steve passed away.

None of those bullet points generate significant revenue for Apple. I have yet to hear someone say "I would buy an iPad if it had multiuser facetime" or "If iCloud wasn't so buggy I would totally buy an iPhone". If these were such glaring deficiencies then Apples competitors would be highlighting them every chance they get. I'd rather have Apple work on the next great thing rather than improving what has already been delivered.

Apple spends a lot of time and effort on their infrastructure. The stuff you can't see. The iTunes infrastructure, for example, was the key to making iPod a success, and it's now helping iOS devices sales because of the enormous value add of the iTunes Store and App Store. You buy an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, and you get free access to it all.

The actual user-facing apps and interfaces do need work. They always will. Everything can always be better. But you need to build the foundation of the house first, and for Apple that means building out iCloud, scaling it up for whatever they're planning in the television space, and making sure that they don't go in the wrong direction.

This means, of course, that we don't see any changes in iCloud until they're officially rolled out by Apple. Maybe that's what Tim Cook meant when he made the "doubling down on security" comment. Because it's easy to test new iCloud server-based features in total secrecy, on a test network locked away in one of Apple's massive data centers.

Saw your comment after posting mine. Agree that doubling down on privacy is not consistent with those that like to speculate on new stuff.

I agree with the premise that Apple can do a little better with more frequent updates and iterations on current software, but it doesn't have to be at the expense of new products. I remember what Cook said at the D conference last year...he said they were doubling down on Siri and privacy of the product pipeline. Perhaps people are getting better at leaks. There has been NOTHING substantial all year and which leads to people get ancy with speculation.

I would love to see multiple person FaceTime calls. As far as iMessage goes I think they need to add a few more options but IMO its much better than other platforms as far as texting goes. I really want a blacklist feature built in though and quick reply would be nice but I doubt they will ever add that.

Valid as all these points may be, Apple will still get burned and called "stale" if all they do is iterate.

They need to release new things, if to avoid headlines saying they didn't. They have enough cash, why cant they do both?

New things like what? I think all these smartphones can innovate so far. Unless the 'new thing' is a Tony Stark phone which would be really cool. I'll tell you what a new thing to me would be to finally figure a battery that keeps pace with the processor demands. That would make me truly happy.

Wow! Nice to read an intelligent article minus the all the bull you get on popular tech sites. This is spot on. I'd rather have an iOS device that does what does well than have these super zinger features that become old news a few months after release. Like Siri has tons of potential. It should own the phone. But IMO it still isn't fully baked. If it is personal assistant than really make it one. Good point on FaceTime as well.
The popular view now is that Apple is lagging behind. The hardware is killer so lets work on that software. Personally I miss true multitasking on my Palm Pre. Would be nice if Cupertino could figure this out and let the phone and tablet truly multitask. This present iteration to me is bogus. I think Safari could do with some modernization as well. I hope someone important at Apple read that article 'cause I think the author gave them the best tip they have gotten all year.

FaceTime needs multi user support, photo stream needs video sharing. I'm all for changes in the iOS but making the good things better is imperative too!

All I ask from Apple, is to include the basic stuff that I jailbreak for: NCSettings, Zephyr swipe up, a dedicated 'Files.app', as Rene previous wrote about, a lick of paint here and there and better inter-app communication.

Perhaps Apple ought to make Passbook, Siri etc. available in Europe, too, to combat their declining market share there? Now iP5 is simply an uber-expensive run-of-the-mill smartphone with all the value-adding services missing at a market where it costs more than anywhere else in the world (800-1100USD). Just a thought.

I couldn't agree more... But where's my Iphone6?! See what I did there? What I need Apple to do and what I desire of them are two different things.

I have 2 macs at home, one is roughly 5 years old and abused, both work perfectly,
Also have a gen 1 ipad, works perfect,
It all depends on your want to have the newest and brightest,
I just purchased a new i5 and love it, i was a diehard bb guy for years,
I honestly buy apple so it lasts.

The day Steve Jobs stepped down from the board is the day the innovation died for Apple. Under his watch, the company always did something to remain ahead of the game. Now they're playing catchup to Samsung, especially when they release one new iteratition of iPhone per year.

Facetime, passbook, iBooks could all definitely be much better with many more features. Things like Facetime audio which is awesome are lost because most users don't even know it's there much less how to use it. iCloud while it's great could also be made better by getting a little more time in the spotlight. There's two ways you can look at it though yes they could slow down their hardware advancements and spend more time on what they have already released to hone it to perfection. They could also continue to put out the new hardware and features until the market is mature and then spend the time on the software and hardware features to make them better when the market has quieted down. It might not seem like that will happen but just take for example the CPU race of computers a few years ago. It was all about the MHz and then the GHz and there were new speeds coming out almost every month. It was a race which then went to multi-core and now today all that has passed. So in time smartphones and tablets will mature and the market will slow. I think Apple really should instead be thinking about ways to let the mainstream know about the new features and how to use them. Facetime is well known by not just the technoliterate but how about Facetime audio? Airdrop is somewhat known but do people know how to use it? I've seen replies on twitter that would say most don't. So along with new features Apple needs to find a way to show people how to use the features that already exist and that will add even more value for users.